South Asia is our route to progress: Need to re­build the link­ages

The ses­sion brought to the fore end­less busi­ness pos­si­bil­i­ties by us­ing coastal pro­to­col route, de­vel­op­ing rail con­nec­tiv­ity and pro­mot­ing tran­ship­ment among the ASEAN na­tions

Maritime Gateway - - Business Session – Ii -

In­hab­i­tants of South Asian re­gion de­pended on the In­dian Ocean and Bay of Ben­gal since time im­memo­rial for their liveli­hood,” re­marked Mod­er­a­tor and Chair­per­son, Sa­j­jadul Has­san, Sec­re­tary, Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Bangladesh, as he spelled the aim of the ses­sion for gov­ern­ments, busi­ness com­mu­nity and trade as­so­ci­a­tions to to­gether share ex­pe­ri­ences, de­velop col­lab­o­ra­tions, iden­tify new in­vest­ment and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties among mem­ber coun­tries in the mar­itime do­main, while pro­mot­ing re­spec­tive coun­tries to global au­di­ence.

San­jay Swarup, Direc­tor (In­ter­na­tional Mar­ket­ing and Oper­a­tions), Con­tainer Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia Ltd (CON­COR), fo­cused his dis­cus­sion on re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity in South and south­west Asia. One of the ear­lier ini­tia­tives to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity in this re­gion was a con­tainer train that moved through the first land bridge in 1998-99 and since then the route is op­er­ated as Rus­siantrans-siberian rail route. The se­cond ini­tia­tive was by china when they es­tab­lished the se­cond Asian Eu­rope Con­ti­nen­tal Land Bridge. In Jan­uary 2008, a pilot con­tainer train trav­elled along that route be­tween Bei­jing and Ham­burg. The three Asia-eu­rope Con­ti­nen­tal Land Bridges may be seen to­gether in the next line. The first and se­cond Asia-eu­rope land bridge are al­ready op­er­a­tional. Un­for­tu­nately the third land bridge pass­ing through South and South­west Asia re­gion has not pro­gressed much due to lack of po­lit­i­cal sup­port and sev­eral miss­ing rail links. This is one of the main rea­sons for the lo­gis­tics cost in our re­gion ranges be­tween 13 to 14 per cent of GDP as com­pared to the first world coun­tries where it is 8 per cent of GDP.

Talk­ing about the mul­ti­modal trans­port sce­nario in In­dia he said, In­dia has about 70 dry ports op­er­a­tional, of which 50 are op­er­ated by CON­COR. With ad­di­tion of few more dry ports, the fig­ure is likely to reach 85 dry ports by 2020-21. Al­most all CON­COR fa­cil­i­ties are rail-linked and op­er­ate a fleet of 300 high-speed rakes. In ad­di­tion an­other 17 pri­vate con­tainer train op­er­a­tors also of­fer cargo lo­gis­tics ser­vices con­nect­ing var­i­ous ports to hin­ter­land and dry ports. In the east, rail con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween In­dia and Bangladesh is at 5 lo­ca­tions, of which 3 are op­er­a­tional: Gede-darshana; Pe­trapole-be­napole; Sing­habad-ro­han­pur. Demon­stra­tion con­tainer train has been run be­tween Dhaka and Kolkata. Talks are in progress with the rev­enue de­part­ment of Bangladesh for mov­ing mo­tor parts, cot­ton, ma­chin­ery and ce­ment

for which there is huge de­mand from In­dia for ex­port­ing to Bangladesh. CON­COR has the po­ten­tial to run atleast one train per day to Bangladesh for mov­ing these com­modi­ties. Go­ing by sea it takes 24days to reach Dhaka from Lud­hi­ana, but the same jour­ney can be ac­com­plished in 5 days if a di­rect train con­nects Lud­hi­ana to Dhaka. Con­sid­er­ing the tran­sit time and cost this is a very ben­e­fi­cial propo­si­tion for trade com­mu­nity. CON­COR is also look­ing for­ward for barge move­ment from east coast of In­dia to Pan­gaon.

Vinita Venkatesh, Direc­tor, Navayuga Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal Pvt Ltd, In­dia put for­ward ini­tia­tives in progress to make the bi­lat­eral pro­to­col be­tween In­dia and Bangladesh work. Move­ment of goods from In­dia to Bangladesh is good and grow­ing, but the chal­lenge is to im­prove ex­ports from Bangladesh into In­dia. Im­ports and ex­ports be­tween the coun­tries need to be bal­anced in or­der to make the move­ment of river sea ves­sels be­tween the na­tions a suc­cess. After the bi­lat­eral pro­to­col was signed Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port was the first to ap­proach the sea ves­sel op­er­a­tors of Bangladesh and in March 2016, a ser­vice of the Neepa Parib­a­han moved cot­ton cargo from Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam

Port to Bangladesh. On the re­turn leg, the ser­vice could bring only emp­ties, as there was no re­turn cargo. A pos­si­bil­ity for fill­ing the ships on the re­turn leg is with RMG that are be­ing ex­ported from Bangladesh to In­dia. “We are con­fi­dent that we can load 120 teu from Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam

Port to ICD Pan­gaon and in the re­verse jour­ney as well,” claimed a con­fi­dent Vinita. She ap­pealed to all the trade present at the event in­clud­ing ex­porters, im­porters, river sea ves­sels op­er­a­tors and con­tainer op­er­a­tors to come to­gether and make the pro­to­col a suc­cess. “We would like to see a river sea ves­sel ser­vice com­mence from Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port to Pan­gaon Ter­mi­nal, lat­est by se­cond week of Novem­ber.”

An­other as­pect to be ad­dressed is the con­ges­tion grow­ing at the in­ter­na­tional bor­der. Huge amount of cargo trav­els 2000 km from south of In­dia, all the way cross­ing over al­most 5 states of In­dia and fi­nally reach­ing the bor­der where a de­lay of at least 14 days is un­avoid­able. In the process a lot of pil­fer­age of cargo hap­pens and the safety of cargo is also com­pro­mised. Some­times the cot­ton trans­ported through land gets so dam­aged that cer­tain part of it is not use­ful. Mov­ing goods in con­tain­ers through sea is ex­tremely safe and free from the risk of pil­fer­age and dam­age.

We are cal­cu­lat­ing the cost of mov­ing goods from south In­dia into Dhaka via road and we plan to of­fer you a lower cost propo­si­tion for mov­ing goods by sea from Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port to ICT Pan­gaon. There are two op­tions for con­nect­ing Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port to Pan­gaon – one is through river sea ves­sels op­er­ated by Shreyas Ship­ping which al­ready con­nects Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port to Colombo and is ready to con­nect Pan­gaon as well.

A ma­jor con­cern raised by Vinita was about Cus­toms pro­cesses be­cause some­times they in­sist for de-stuff­ing and check­ing the en­tire cargo from the con­tainer. “To re­solve this is­sue we can of­fer con­tainer scan­ners in­stalled at Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port for In­dian Cus­toms to use them and the re­port gen­er­ated by In­dian Cus­toms can be shared with the Bangladesh Cus­toms to ex­pe­dite and sim­plify the Cus­toms process,” sug­gested Vinita.

Since the re­lax­ation of Cab­o­tage the vol­ume of exim tran­ship­ment han­dled at In­dian ports has tremen­dously in­creased. On the east coast, Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port is the high­est vol­ume tran­ship­ment cargo op­er­a­tor. 20,000 teus or 50 per cent of the cargo han­dled by the port is tran­ship­ment. Cargo com­ing from China and Korea which was ear­lier tran­shipped at Sin­ga­pore and Port Klang, is now tran­shipped at Kr­ish­na­p­at­nam Port for Kolkata and Hal­dia. A sim­i­lar ser­vice can be of­fered for Chit­tagong Port as well and the cost for both main­lines and feeder op­er­a­tors will be com­par­a­tively low.

Shashi Bhushan Shukla, IRS, Mem­ber (Traf­fic), In­land Wa­ter­ways Au­thor­ity of In­dia (IWAI), shared the projects taken up by the gov­ern­ment of In­dia to pro­mote In­land wa­ter­ways. In 2016, the gov­ern­ment iden­ti­fied

111 wa­ter­ways as na­tional wa­ter­ways, which in­cludes 20,000 km of rivers that are be­ing de­vel­oped in a phased man­ner. Some of these rivers are cho­sen on pri­or­ity: NW-1 that in­cludes Ganga, Bha­gi­rathi and Hooghly which con­nects to Bangladesh river sys­tem in Sun­dar­ban. NW-1 is be­ing de­vel­oped at a cost of `6000 crore and three mul­ti­modal ter­mi­nals are be­ing de­vel­oped each at Varanasi, Sa­he­b­gunj and Hal­dia. One new nav­i­ga­tional lock at Far­raka is be­ing de­vel­oped, along with two in­ter­modal ter­mi­nals at Ghazipur and Kalughat. A ter­mi­nal is also be­ing de­vel­oped in Kolkata that will be op­er­ated by M/S Sum­mit Al­liance based in Bangladesh. NW-1 will be con­nected to the pro­to­col route to en­sure seam­less move­ment of ves­sels of ap­prox­i­mately 2000 tonnes with uni­form draft of 3.5 me­ters for up to 3600km. Cargo from North

In­dia can come di­rectly to Bangladesh through wa­ter­ways.

“It is very im­por­tant to un­der­stand why South Asia mat­ters? South Asia is our route to progress,” said

Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Ad­vi­sor to Hon’ble Prime Min­is­ter, Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Bangladesh. Un­til 1947 this re­gion was highly in­te­grated but in the later years the link­ages be­tween the coun­tries have been dis­man­tled. There is a need to re­build those link­ages. While as in­di­vid­ual coun­tries we have made tremen­dous progress but as a re­gion we have failed to in­te­grate. In the past 70 years we have been com­pet­ing in­stead of col­lab­o­rat­ing for mu­tual progress and the re­sult is ev­i­dent – South Asia has the largest pop­u­la­tion be­low poverty line and il­lit­er­ate. A be­gin­ning has to be made at this plat­form to fos­ter mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tive de­vel­op­ment in the re­gion.

(L to R) Shashi Bhushan Shukla, IRS, Mem­ber (Traf­fic), IWAI; Sa­j­jadul Has­san, Sec­re­tary, Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Bangladesh; Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Ad­vi­sor to Hon’ble Prime Min­is­ter, Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Bangladesh; Vinita Venkatesh, Direc­tor, Navayuga Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal Pvt Ltd; Md. Ab­dus Sa­mad, Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Ship­ping, Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Bangladesh; Com­modore Ari­ful Is­lam, Direc­tor Gen­eral, Min­istry of Ship­ping, Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple's Repub­lic of Bangladesh; SK Mah­fuz Hamid, Manag­ing Direc­tor, Gulf Ori­ent Se­aways Ltd

Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Ad­vi­sor to Hon’ble Prime Min­is­ter, Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Bangladesh, ex­plains why South Asia mat­ters?

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